Georges Cuvier, et. al., The Animal Kingdom, first published between 1827 and 1835:
The first family of Carnaria – The Bats (Vesepertilio, Lin.)—
Have the arms, fore-arms, and fingers excessively elongated, so as to form . . . real wings, the surface of which is equally or more extended than in those of Birds. Hence they fly very high, and with great rapidity. . . . Their eyes [except in the frugivorous species] are extremely small, but their ears are often very large, and constitute with the wings an enormous extent of membrane, almost naked, and so sensible that the Bats guide themselves through all the intricacies of their labyrinths, even after their eyes have been removed, probably by the sole diversity of aërial impressions.(1) . . .
(1) I have reason to suspect that the delicate tact alluded to resides principally in the facial membrane, present only in some genera. A specimen of Vesp. Nattereri which I have just been observing, (in which restricted genus there is no development of membrane on the face,) has several times, in flying about the room, slapped against a glass case. – Ed.